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It's summertime on the Riviera, where the Jazz Age is busily reinventing the holiday delights of warm days on golden sand and cool nights on terraces and dance floors. Just up the coast lies a more traditional pleasure ground: Monte Carlo, where fortunes are won, lost, stolen, and hidden away. So when Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes happen across the Côte d'Azur in this summer of 1925, they find themselves pulled between the young and the old, hot sun and cool jazz, new friendships and old loyalties, childlike pleasures and very grown-up sins...
IIn the eerie wasteland of Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes summons his devoted wife and partner, Mary Russell, from her studies at Oxford to aid the investigation of a death and some disturbing phenomena of a decidedly supernatural origin.
Through the mists of the moor there have been sightings of a spectral coach made of bones carrying a woman long ago accused of murdering her husband – and of a hound with a single glowing eye. Returning to the scene of one of his most celebrated cases, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes and Russell investigate a mystery darker and more unforgiving than the moors themselves.
The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter to Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania's young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country's long-lost provinces, single-handedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force. The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thanks from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children. The threat is...now, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may only be accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.
1923. Mary Russell Holmes and her husband, the retired Sherlock Holmes, are enjoying the summer together on their Sussex estate when they are visited by an old friend, Miss Dorothy Ruskin, an archeologist just returned from Palestine. She leaves in their protection an ancient manuscript which seems to hint at the possibility that Mary Magdalene was an apostle--an artifact certain to stir up a storm of biblical proportions in the Christian establishment. When Ruskin is suddenly killed in a tragic accident, Russell and Holmes find themselves on the trail of a fiendishly clever murderer.
It is 1921 and Mary Russell--Sherlock Holmes's brilliant apprentice, now an Oxford graduate with a degree in theology - is on the verge of acquiring a sizable inheritance. Independent at last, with a passion for divinity and detective work, her most baffling mystery may now involve Holmes and the burgeoning of a deeper affection between herself and the retired detective. Russell's attentions turn to the New Temple of God and its leader, Margery Childe, a charismatic suffragette and a mystic, whose draw on the young theology scholar is irresistible. But when four bluestockings from the Temple turn up dead shortly after changing their wills, could sins of a capital nature be afoot? Holmes and Russell investigate, as their partnership takes a surprising turn.
1925. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes arrive home to find a stone. The stone is inscribed with the same name that they last saw in the Tokyo garden of the future emperor of Japan. It is the first indication that the investigation they did for him a year ago might not be as complete as they had thought. In Japan there were spies; in Oxford there are dreams. In both places, there is a small, dark-haired woman, and danger . . .
1915. The great detective Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honey bees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes – and match him wit for wit.
Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. In their first case together, they must track down a kidnapped American senator's daughter and confront a truly cunning adversary – a bomber who has set trip-wires for the sleuths and who will stop at nothing to end their partnership.
Only hours after Holmes and Russell return from solving one riddle on the moor, another knocks on their front door . . . literally.
It‘s a mystery that begins during the Great War, when Gabriel Hughenfort died amidst scandalous rumours that have haunted the family ever since. But it‘s not until Holmes and Russell arrive at Justice Hall, a home of unearthly perfection set in a garden modeled on Paradise, that they fully understand the irony echoed in the family motto, Justitia fortitudo mea est: ‘Righteousness is my strength‘.
A trail of ominous clues leads Holmes and Russell from an English hamlet to fashionable Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. But as the moment of reckoning approaches, will justice be done . . . or have they been lured straight into an elusive killer‘s perfectly baited trap?
June, 1925. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are enjoying a much-needed quiet summer evening in their home on the Sussex Downs. However, Russell soon receives a desperate telephone call from an old friend. Veronica’s aunt, Lady Vivian Beaconsfield, has disappeared following a supervised outing from Bethlem Royal Hospital. With Russell herself feeling less than balanced, the last thing she wants to deal with is the mad; however, she agrees to investigate.
Lady Vivian had spent most of her adult life in and out of one asylum or another, and seemed at last to be adjusting to confinement at Bedlam. So why did she disappear? And why is there no trace of the nurse who accompanied her?
In their search for the missing women, Russell and Holmes follow the trail from the cold, harsh wards of the hospital through to the ethereal beauty of Venice. Caught up in decadent soirées, the rising tide of fascism and the myth of a haunted madhouse, the pair will discover that there are secrets hidden in the
lagoon – and that every Venetian wears a mask…
Praise for Laurie R. King:
‘A master storyteller’ Michael Connelly
‘A triumph of plotting. Devoted readers . . . are in for a treat’ Booklist
‘Not only a high point in King’s long-running series, but a compelling demonstration of the ways inventive writers can continue to breathe new life into the Holmes-ian mythology’ Kirkus Reviews
‘As dry, sparkling and delightful as good champagne’ Washington Times
1918. Forced to flee England, Sherlock Holmes and his young apprentice Mary Russell enter British-occupied Palestine under the auspices of Holmes’s enigmatic brother, Mycroft. Their arrival coincides with a rash of unsolved murders that has baffled the authorities, yet no one is too pleased at Holmes’s insistence on reconstructing the most recent homicide in the desert where it occurred.
What they unexpectedly uncover will lead Russell and Holmes through an exotic gauntlet of labyrinthine bazaars, verminous hovels, cliff-hung monasteries - and into mortal danger. In the jewel-like city of Jerusalem, they will at last meet their adversary, whose lust for power could ignite a tinderbox of hostilities just waiting for a spark…
In this crackling novella, New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King reveals an unforgettable new twist in the adventure that led supersleuth Sherlock Holmes to discover his first (and finest) apprentice, Mary Russell.
Sherlock Holmes is fending off a particularly dark mood as he roams the Sussex Downs, in search of wild bees. The Great War may be raging across the Channel, but on the Downs, the great detective nears terminal melancholia – only to be saved by an encounter with headstrong, yellow-haired young Mary Russell, who soon becomes the Master’s apprentice not only in beekeeping but in detection.
Holmes instantly spots her remarkable ability, but his sharp eyes also see troubling problems. Why is this wealthy orphan who lives with her aunt so shabbily dressed? Why is she so prone to illness and accident? Is she herself the center of a mystery? These are questions that the great detective must answer quickly lest his protégée, and his own new lease on life, meet a sudden, tragic end.
The tale of their meeting has been told from Russell’s point of view, but even those who have never met the famed Russell-Holmes pair will read this tale with delight—and, as its climax builds, with breathless excitement.
‘A COMPELLING DEMONSTRATION OF THE WAYS INVENTIVE WRITERS CAN CONTINUE TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO THE HOLMESIAN MYTHOLOGY’ KIRKUS REVIEWS
Laurie R. King illuminates the hidden corners of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes’s world in this beguiling short story collection. With King’s beloved brand of crime fiction blended together with historical treats and narrative sleight of hand, we read from a teenage Mary’s wartime diary, learn more of Holmes’s marriage proposal and of Mycroft Holmes’s political activities, and follow Mary though a series of postcards as she searches for her missing husband.
A richly illustrated and fascinating feast for fans and new readers alike, this collection lifts the lid on many untold stories from Russell and Holmes’s past.